Harrogate play park blaze confirmed as arson – police arrest eight teenagers as enquiries continue

10 October 2011

A fire which destroyed an adventure play park in Harrogate has been confirmed as arson.

North Yorkshire Police have arrested eight local teenagers in connection with the incident at Valley Gardens, which occurred during the early hours of Saturday 8 October 2011.

One of the teenagers remains in custody for questioning, three have been released on bail pending further enquiries and four have been released with no further action.

To recap, police and firefighters were alerted to the scene at 2.55am following reports of a blaze at the play park. A wooden fortress structure was completely burnt out but thankfully the emergency services quickly established that nobody had come to harm.

Detectives from Harrogate CID have been conducting multiple lines of enquiry to help identify those involved and Crime Scene Investigation officers have attended the location to gather forensic evidence. Fire and Rescue fire investigation officers have also made examinations into the cause of the blaze which is now being treated as deliberate.

DC Helen Quaife said:

There has been a significant reaction in the local community condemning the actions of those responsible and people coming forward to assist the police with enquiries.

The play park is hugely popular with residents of Harrogate and the surrounding area, and the damage caused by this blaze will no doubt impact widely.

While the investigation is progressing well with a number of arrests made and other people assisting enquiries, it is still vital that all information is passed onto the police or Crimestoppers as a matter of urgency.

If you can help the investigation, please contact DC Helen Quaife at Harrogate CID on 0845 60 60 24 7 quoting reference number 12110170679.

Information can also be passed on anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Related Stories:

Harrogate Council comment on the Valley Garden’s Fire

Play Equipment Destroyed in Valley Gardens

Fire damage to Children’s play equipment in Valley Gardens


  1. Nothing will happen to these kids!!!!!!! ARSON send them to prison!!!!! straight to prison toughen up and send them to prison!!!! if they did it they should be punished my family and many others enjoyed that place!!!!! i’m sick of the police not doing there job!!!!! these are real criminals!!!!!!!

    • Some good English there ‘unknown’. I share your disgust at these individuals, however your frustration with the police seems misplaced. I think you mean the courts and the legal system more generally. For it is the legal system that fails us, not the police (bar instances where they do fail to perform). Criminals are rarely dealt with harshly enough by the courts and often it is because their hands too are tied by dated laws that government after government fail to respond to. Also political correctness is to blame – how often do a criminal’s ‘human rights’ come into things? If they want the rights of a normal human, then they should abide by the laws that us normal humans do. As for whoever burnt this play area down, I hope, most likely in vain, that they are punished appropriately for a pathetic and mindless crime.

      • Is this an English test or a place for us to post our comments on this terrible case of arson?
        These teenagers should be charged as any other person would be who commits arson. I expect nothing will happen and they will continue to make a mess of this popular area. As for the police? I have never seen one policeman or community support officer around this area after six pm when these teens start congregating.

  2. Name and shame send them the bill. It sould be for the public to decide what happens to them as it was our play park……!

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